While it is important for me to stand-up for myself, my family and my community, it’s also important that I get up off my ass and stand up for the rights of other people! Most importantly, it is paramount to have the moral chutzpah to stand with oppressed communities in their times of need as a result of despotic limitations imposed upon them by the high and mighty! And in community, we stand up for one another – especially in this current season of political claptrap which calls for such communal nourishing of our collective well-being as a people.
The latest executive order of the United States President, whose name I refuse to mention because it’s like a curse word in my mouth, that bans Muslims from 7 Islamic countries, including refugees and legal residents (Green Card holders) has caused me to align myself with their struggle and stand in solidarity with Muslims and refugees.
Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: I am a Christian, a Black immigrant, and a citizen in America. But right now, I am a Muslim and of a refugee status.
Why do I choose to pitch my tent with Muslims and refugees? I chose to do so for two reasons, my Christian faith and because I am Black – a member of the oppressed nationality in America. I am pretty sure that some who have been damaged by the Church as an institution are probably surprised that I’ve cited Christianity as the chief reason for being at one with the oppressed and victimized.
Yes, you are absolutely right that a version of Christianity had championed the course of oppression for centuries. Christianity was used to interrupt the harmonious way of life of Africans, pillaged communities, genocides were committed in the name of Christianity and was instrumental in justifying the horrendous acts of slavery and colonization. But all these despicable acts were committed in the name of a different kind of Christianity called Constantinian Christianity. This is a kind of Christianity that came into existence after the conversion of Constantine which married the Church to the power of the oppressive Roman Empire, effectively cutting the umbilical cord that connects the Church to God. Since then, the Church has been wedded to Empire.
Jesus Christ is the lifeblood of the Christianity that I’m talking about, that makes me align my faith and identities with others. Within the context of this Prophetic Christianity, the essence of Christian faith must never remain idle against the tyranny of those drunk with power! As such, we are called to rise in defense of those who have been harmed by the corruption of the powerful and the privileged because Jesus Christ himself was a social reformer and a prophet of socialism that sided with the weak and the oppressed.
Thaddeus Stevens, a Pennsylvanian Congressman stated during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln that his unflinching support for the Emancipation Proclamation was as a result of his own disability. Stevens was born with a club foot, and this deformity, in an era when disability was perceived as a curse and heavily discriminated against, gave the representative a taste of what it meant to be ostracized.
Similarly, as a black man in America I can speak experientially to what it means to be discriminated against on the basis of my ascribed status – my skin color. It is from this experience that I draw the strength to fight the appearance of injustice in any way, shape or form and I will not sit idly by and allow my Muslim brothers, sisters and refugees to be the new Blacks in America.
The inhumane and draconian executive order of this president banning predominantly Muslim countries such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, refugees and Green cardholders from entering U.S. has received global criticism from reasonable and decent human beings.
These criticisms are well-deserved and very much so, but the onus is on the members of the Republican Party to condemn unequivocally this presidential madness of their own. After all, asking moderate Muslims to condemn terrorism has become the staple of the American populace, and both Muslim clerics and followers have done a good job of denouncing terrorism loud and clear.
When 9/11 attacks struck, the most powerful condemnation of the senseless actions of Osama Bin Laden came from his former mentor Salman al-Oadah, a heavyweight Salafi preacher in Saudi Arabia with a large followership. Al-Oadah condemned him for the loss of innocent lives and asked, “How many innocent children, elderly people and women were killed in the name of Al Qaeda? He went further and blamed Bin Laden for “U.S. occupation of the Muslim lands in Afghanistan and Iraq, displacement of millions of Iraqis, killings of thousands of Afghans, internment and torture of promising and deluded young Muslims, and a tarnished image of Islam all over the world”
In like manner, this president has done untold damage to the residue of America’s reputation in the world and depleted its global reservoir of goodwill. It is incumbent upon the leadership Republican Party to lay aside politics and tell the truth as decent human beings.
But how do you tell politicians not to play politics? That’s like telling a fish to stop being wet. And how can they tell the truth when truth is suicidal in politics?
For Republicans, silence is not an option. Our present monocratic administration has thrusted upon them the “Responsibility to Protect”, they must take a cue from Salman al-Oadah and condemn unequivocally this presidential calamity and his crazy minions, if not for sake of God certainly for the sake of protecting the reputation of America.